Removing Comments from WordPress Blog

When editing a blog post or page with WordPress a selected set of options is displayed. By clicking on the Screen Options button in the upper right of the editing window one can turn on additional options that appear while editing. Discussions is one of those options. That option allows editors to disallow comments on a post.

Batch resizing images on a Mac

Using the Automator is a way to batch resize images. Put the images to be resized into a folder (resize on the desktop). Start the Automator and use File>New – Choose Workflow. Drop the images into the window that says “Drag actions or files here to build  your workflow.” Then find Scale Images under Actions and drag it to below the images to be scaled. Then enter the pixel size. This is the side of the width? Used 2400 on images that were wider than higher. Then click on Run in the upper right and the images will be scaled.

Russia vetoed Secretary of State selection

Russia seems to have had a hand in determining who Trump named as Secretary of State. A while back The New Yorker published The Man Behind the Dossier, Christopher Steele. In the article Jane Mayer reported:

“One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as “a senior Russian official.” The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. (During Romney’s run for the White House in 2012, he was notably hawkish on Russia, calling it the single greatest threat to the U.S.) The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President.”

Then we learned this week who might have been involved in that decision. From the Maria Butina affidavit:

“On November 11,2016, BUTINA sent the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL a direct message via Twitter, in which she predicted who might be named Secretary of State and asked the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL to find out how “our people” felt about that potential nomination.”

Letter to RA Board

Dear Board of Directors,

I’m writing in regards to the dredging of Lake Thoreau and the decision by RA staff to close the Lake  Thoreau trail and not provide a detour. If you are not aware, the Lake Thoreau trail is one of the more popular trails in Reston. The trail, signed as “The Red Loop Trail,” extends for 2.1 miles around the lake. I live in Old Westbury cluster and use the trail on an almost daily basis to either walk or bike to South Lakes Village Center or to circumnavigate the lake. When school was in session the high school and middle school kids, who walk to the village center every day, bypassed the closed trail signs because they were not given an alternative and had few other options.
The trail was closed at the southern end of the lake where dredging equipment is stored and dump trucks occasionally haul away dredged material. While I realize there is not a good location for this activity, I believe there is/was a better option than completely closing the trail and not providing a detour. In fact, the trail is not closed because every time I pass that section of the trail I see people using it. The Trail Closed signs have been trampled multiple times because people have no reasonable alternative. For the past approximately 2 weeks there has been no activity at the site and yet the trail still remains “closed.”
Tonight, as in years past, residents in the area will bypass the closed trail signs to gather on the trail at the dam to watch fireworks. That section of the trail is basically a narrow park where people gather to fish, watch the sunset, and otherwise congregate.
I understand liability concerns of allowing people to pass through the site, but the current implementation is not working. I’m sure I and others would be glad to work with RA to figure out a solution. I assume that since the dredging work is delayed the trail will remain closed much longer than anticipated. It’s not too late to come up with an alternative to “closing” the trail.

New Route 7 Trail at Dulles Toll Road

We recently attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new trail along Route 7 over the Dulles Toll Road. Where the trail crosses the several high speed entrance/exit ramps, the trail is separated either below or above the ramp. This is the safest way to cross that type of ramp and the project is one of the first to include separation for almost all of the ramp crossings.

Bike lessons

I teach people how to ride bikes. See Reston Bike Ed for details. Possibly as a sign that more people are wanting to bike, I’ve had a noticeable increase in requests for Learn to Ride classes this spring. Most weekends I hold 2 or 3 lessons. It usually takes a couple of lessons to learn to balance without pedals and control the bike, and then with the pedals, to ride. Even after learning to ride there is a steep learning curve for really knowing how to ride in traffic and on trails. Skills such as signaling, scanning behind to look for traffic, and just getting more comfortable on the bike all take time and practice. Even many adults don’t really know the best way to position themselves in traffic.

Reston now has several miles of bike lanes to add to the many neighborhood streets and bike paths that are all good places to ride. I’m hoping that more people in the community will start riding for short trips.

Saving Warmup Water

A Spanish company is implementing an invention that has occurred to me over the years; is there a way to capture water that is wasted between the time someone turns on the hot water and when that water actually gets hot. During that time the perfectly good, treated water runs down the drain. The invention is called the Water Drop by the Spanish company esferic. The device is a bag that is attached to a shower hose or the sink faucet to collect that wasted water. A more elaborate  option have a switch that would divert that water to an outdoor collection system through additional plumbing, a much more expensive method.

Waterdrop bag

Financial bubble

During the housing bubble people were buying houses simply because they could easily get a loan to finance them. Many couldn’t really afford the houses they bought, but why worry because the price of housing was just going to keep rising. Some people bought multiple houses as investments, because they could. Had a conversation yesterday with someone that sounded eerily like it was from that earlier era; the person had started her own business to invest in gold and crypto currency. She mentioned a scheme to purchase a developing crypto that was guaranteed not to lose money. Let’s hope that when the Bitcoin bubble bursts it doesn’t have a huge impact on the rest of the economy.

Web site conversion

I’ve decided to update my website for a couple of reasons. The old site was difficult to maintain. I coded everything in HTML and CSS. When I made a change I needed to edit the code and upload the file to my server. Using WordPress makes this process easier, although there is an initial WP learning curve. The second reason is that I also developed and maintained the FABB website for many years using the same editing process. Now that others are helping with that work, it needs to be easier to maintain. We’ve decided to convert that site to WP and a team of folks are learning how to update the site. By converting my personal website I have the opportunity to experiment with WP. My old blog at exhalations will probably be around for a while, but I haven’t posted there lately and most of the info is dated.